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Old 07-02-2012, 01:07 AM   #42
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Default Re: Sam Langford vs James Jeffries 1910

Just dug out another book titled 'Rogue's Progress. The Fabulous Adventures of Wilson Mizner' by John Burke (1975) and see the same story repeated in that book. But, Burke writes that Mizner and Ketchel had bet all the money they could raise on Johnson, while harboring the perverse hope that Johnson would get his block knocked off.

Here's the account in the Burke book:

"Ketchel proposed (to Mizner) that at the weighing-in ceremonies, when various celebreties and other fighters would shake hands with Jeffries and Johnson, he would lay his best punch on Jeffries jaw. The blow would be so devestating in both its physical and phsychological effects that the fight would have to be called off. Thus, by Ketchel's corkscrew reasoning, something of the remaining white pride would be salvaged if yet another white man, especially a former champion, wasn't humiliated by the black champion.

Wilson vigorously contested Ketchel's proposed action. Who were a pair of scufflers like Mizner and Ketchel to bear the white man's burden? The white race, he argued, would survive even if Jeffries was knocked out in the first round. Crusader's armor was too snug to fit around the shoulders. And then he delivered the clincher:

"Think of our dough. We've got everything, including borrowed money, tied up in Johnson winning this fight."

Wilson was sweating by the time he persuaded Ketchel not to go through with his knuckle-headed scheme. Events proved his was the right, if unsentimental, course."

No mention of Mizner having to tell Rickard and any others of the plan to prevent it.
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